Confused mama, confused teenager - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 04-10-2008, 05:51 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm sorry this has turned into something so long, but I'm desperate .

Hi everyone, I'm looking for an outsider perspective with regards to our situation. I think I've reached the limit when it comes to my 16-year-old daughter, I'm completely stumped, tired and out of ideas. We are almost certain that there is something "wrong" with her, mentally. We have not taken any medical action as of yet, but she does have an appointment with our family doctor May 7th. The thing is, I don't know if we'll make it by then. It's gotten really scary for all of us dealing with it, I can't imagine how she feels.

Some background (I'll try to keep it brief): I have four kids (as you can see from my signature) and I think my second-born has been the most "difficult", I guess you could say. Raising her was a challenge because she wasn't a typical kid; she was mostly withdrawn and very much dependent on herself throughout most of her childhood. A typical tomboy, she never got along with girls her age (nor boys, for that matter... but girls were always more distant). She was a very fussy eater (still is) and difficult to please with regards to everything, not just food. At around 13, we started noticing her bouts of anger getting worse. She'd have tantrums; crying, shaking, screaming, the whole bit. These still happen, maybe once weekly. Naively, we attributed these to puberty. However, as the years passed nothing really changed. As a matter of fact, things have gotten worse.

I talk to her on a daily basis about her "problems" and feel like I know a lot about my own child, but I'm not about to presume I know everything. I'm almost certain she's not telling me everything. She's told me on a number of occasions that she believes there's something madly wrong with her. She thinks she's depressed or has major anger issues. She tells me how, out of nowhere, she gets extremely angry for no apparent reason. She could be sitting in her room, doing homework, and she'll start to feel violent and trapped. She cries herself to sleep every night - I know this for a fact.

She has only one close friend (the rest are more acquaintances, but she can't stand them most of the time) whom she tells everything. Now, I'm not fond of this girl whatsoever (we have a long history with her... pathological liar, attention-seeker, overall bad influence), but at this point, there's nothing I can do to keep her away from my daughter and nothing I want to do frankly, since it's none of my business who she hangs out with. Their relationship is awkward, really. Both girls are quite needy and spend pretty much 24/7 together - no exaggeration. I feel like this girl has a lot of influence on my daughter as well because, at a point in their friendship, she went on a rampant lying spree, basically claiming to have a number of disorders (bipolarity was one of them) for attention. My daughter trusts her 100%, which I think is bull, but again, I stay out of it. She trusts her, and takes her psychological advice like she's a doctor, it's pretty sad. So, a lot of what this girl says is taken to heart by my daughter. I'm presuming that most of the advice is skewed and wrong.

My daughter's disinterested, withdrawn, violent (like I mentioned before) - she's taken it out on all of us, physically on her little brother (who is almost nine) and even her friend (she has admitted to punching her during one of her "anger attacks").

I'm not familiar with any of this. We don't have a history of depression, anger, etc. in our family so this is brand new to me. I hate to admit it, but throughout most of this I lived in denial thinking there was nothing wrong with my daughter, but honestly, I'm tired of that. I know that she needs help, and we all need help because we can't live like this anymore, on edge, wondering if today will be a "good" day for her, or a "bad" day. I'm convinced this is deep-seeded. I think she has hidden feelings, I know for a fact that her weight is a contributing factor (she's been dieting since she was 13, and she's never happy about herself physically), I've started to presume that she's not straight, which, I can imagine, would have huge effect on someone.

Anyway, I'm terribly sorry for the ramble, but I really just need some input and your thoughts/support. I really hope I get something back because I literally have no one to turn to at this point except my husband and oldest daughter, who are both as confused as I am.

If you've read through all of this, thank you so much!
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#2 of 8 Old 04-10-2008, 07:57 PM
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I don't have any advice, other than getting her in to see a psychiatrist or psychologist in addition to an MD.

I would also look at maybe you and your husband seeing a couselor to learn how to help her better.

Her friend doesn't sound like a good influence at all. But completely cutting off contact could have really negative repercussions. Which is why it would probably be good for all three of you to get into some counseling together and seperately.

Let us know how you're all doing!

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#3 of 8 Old 04-10-2008, 08:09 PM
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I'm so sorry your daughter is having so many problems.

As a teenager who had a lot of "issues", I can really relate to your daughter. Unfortunately, I have no advice. I don't know what could have helped me, other than getting away from the negative influences in my life.

I think checking in with a family doc is a good idea. He/she might have some good resources or be able to give you a referral to a counselor.

Take care of yourself through this. It is so hard to see one of your children in pain.
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#4 of 8 Old 04-13-2008, 07:17 AM
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As someone who had a really hard time when I was 16, much of it having to do with family conflicts about identity/sexuality, I'd recommend that if you find a counselor either for your DD or for your family, that you make sure they're not going to belittle or criticize any confusion she might have about sexuality. It might only be one part of the difficulty she's facing right now, but it can be really alienating and scary to feel unsure of yourself and feel like you have to hide your questions from the people that are supposed to be helping you.

to your family!

Bicycle-ridin', craftin', bloggin' feminist future mama to my starbabies dum spiro spero
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#5 of 8 Old 04-13-2008, 08:57 AM
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therapy really helped my DSD and me when we were going through tough times. SHe was open to the idea of going though and for the most part went individually.
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#6 of 8 Old 04-13-2008, 11:18 AM
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I'm sorry. What you are describing is actually pretty common in my family.

I think a counsellor is a good idea.

Going to the doctor is also a good idea. She should have her hormones tested to see if something is off. You are going to need to advocate heavily for her, because of her age they may be resistant to special testing or referring you on to specialists.

If she is a picky eater she could be deficient in some things, and she may be reacting to something that she actually does eat all the time. A food allergy or intolerance. For example, my middle daughter can be very difficult, with anger outbursts, and defiance, and such when she eats food dyes and if she gets a good dose of salycates in food. So, many many many very processed foods set her off.

How is her sleep? Is she getting enough? Because not sleeping due to being stubborn, or a sleep disorder will exacerbate those anger spells signficantly.

People in my family like this often are bi-polar. If that is true for your daughter, she is already pretty far into it as her cycling is very rapid. That isn't good when she is still pretty young.

At least one of the people actually had some problems with their thyroid.

I have rage problems, probably better controlled than your daughters. But I do get them.

Things that I and some of the other people in my family have found useful are listed above. Also, high concentrations of Vitamin A and D. I use larger doses of high vitamin cod liver oil. This one is critical - Vitamin B Complex. Specifically Vitamin B2, B3, and B6 in high dosages are just SOOOOO important. Phosphatidylserine has been very helpful. As is Inositiol.

The Learning Factors Smoothie mix from Natural Factors is actually really good for feeding the brain of a child who isn't being cooperative on the eating front. I think the stuff is great. Getting a kid to drink a smoothie in the morning to feed their brains to deal with the day is great.
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#7 of 8 Old 04-13-2008, 05:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Demeter9 View Post
How is her sleep? Is she getting enough? Because not sleeping due to being stubborn, or a sleep disorder will exacerbate those anger spells signficantly.
The sleep thing - she does not have a "healthy" schedule, I guess you could say. She usually goes down very late on school nights, sometimes doesn't get to sleep until 2 AM and then gets up at 7 AM. She has random naps here and there during the day (she has told me that these help, especially if she's feeling down at the time, a nap erases any hard feelings she had before). She's all over the place, pretty much. She's very active; does rugby, tennis and works out daily... sleep is not a priority.

Thanks for your support everyone .
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#8 of 8 Old 04-16-2008, 04:11 PM
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A lot of what you are describing (minus the anger bits) is like my early teen years - the always keeping busy, the feeling something is wrong, the low need for sleep, the dieting. The thing that helped me the most was stable friends I could talk to . . . and time.
I know you said that there is a doctor appt on May 7th but can she get in to see a counselor of any type before that? Are there counselors at school maybe?

Mommy to a wonderfully passionate little one
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